Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cinnamon Rolls for Now or Later

I use my bread machine to make the dough for my cinnamon rolls. It takes 90 minutes for the dough to finish and another 60-90 minutes for the shaped dough to rise and be ready for the oven. That makes having freshly made cinnamon rolls first thing in the morning a challenge unless I want to get up before the chickens. I decided to do a bit of experimenting. After several trials and some errors, I found two successful ways for making cinnamon rolls now to eat later.

The first option is for cinnamon rolls served the day after making. I make the dough, shape it, and place it without letting it rise in the refrigerator. The next morning remove the cinnamon rolls from the refrigerator and let them rest on the counter 15-20 minutes. Bake as usual.

The second option is for freezing the dough. I make the dough, shape it, and let it rise. Then I wrap the pan well and place it in the freezer. The day before baking, let the cinnamon roll dough rise overnight in the refrigerator. Remove from the refrigerator and let rest on the counter 15-20 minutes before baking as usual.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My First Handmade Card

I have always wanted to try rubber stamping and recently subscribed to a kit of the month club that included a small lesson book along with the rubber stamps and materials to complete the projects. I worked on the March kit over the weekend. I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results.

Although it is not visible from the picture, the flower has a 3-d effect. I stamped the image three times and cut out parts from two of the images. I used pop dots to layer the flower parts giving the image a bit of depth. I am thinking I might actually be able to make my Christmas cards for this year and not have them look like a three year old made them.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Improved Pantry

First of all, I am a bit surprised at myself for sharing the before photos. The main reason I am sharing them is that the after ones are so impressive. Here goes:

I have no good explanation for this mess. It started small as all messes do. This part of the house is cold so once winter was in full swing I could not not convince myself to bundle up enough to get back there. We were just opening the door and tossing things inside. Finally enough was enough, and it was time to clean up. It took a few long days to get it all in order, but I am thrilled with the results.

Everything is neat and organized. I can easily put up any items I purchase, and I can quickly find any items that I need. I think the before pictures will be motivation to keep it in the after condition.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Spring Cleaning

I know it is several weeks past the beginning of spring, but I have finally been bitten by the spring cleaning bug. I started in the craft room/gym which was one of the two worst rooms in the house. I would have taken pictures, but it was too embarrassing. It took me a week to finish. While it is far from perfect, it is much better.

I have donated three and half boxes of books to a neighborhood bookshelf. Two grocery bags of books went to the local gospel radio station for its prison ministry. A box of craft supplies was given to my church along with my Swiffer WetJet. I have a box of yard sale items to give to my cousin for her sale. I am trying to be a bit ruthless in my decluttering. We simply have too much stuff in our house.

I am motivated by the progress I have made. Next week I am going to work on the pantry. It is even worse than the craft room. I may get brave and take some before pictures of the pantry to share. It needs organizing, and I am sure I will have to toss a few expired items that have been buried in the mess.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Decorative Clipboard

One of my hobbies is writing letters. I have pen friends all over the world. I know e-mail is faster and cheaper, but I prefer snail mail as do my pen pals. I decided to save a bunch of the stamps and use them to decorate a clipboard. Here is what I started with: plain clipboard, diluted white glue, foam brush, and stamps.
I went with a random display (or as random as I would allow myself to be). I opted not to overlap the stamps as I wanted to see them. Here is the finished product:

Some of my favorite stamps are from France. These are two examples:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Homemade Hamburger Buns

I cannot remember the last time I bought hamburger buns. Instead I use my dinner roll recipe to make hamburger buns. When I shape the dough, I usually make 6 hamburger buns and 12 dinner rolls. These are softer than purchased buns. Of course, we usually eat them straight out of the oven so they are fresher too. Here is the dough prior to rising:

After Rising

Monday, April 12, 2010

Use It Up Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

First I apologize for how unappetizing the picture looks. I made chicken noodle soup to use up a package of egg noodles. I then had chicken leftover. I also had some wheat tortillas and a bit of shredded cheese. These along with a few other ingredients became chicken enchiladas which went into the freezer for a quick meal at a later date.
I do use the term "recipe" rather loosely since I barely follow one. Here goes:
can of cream of chicken soup (I use my homemade version)
chicken broth (homemade from the freezer)
sour cream
shredded cooked chicken
bell pepper
shredded cheddar cheese
I mix the cream of chicken soup with a few spoonfuls of sour cream. I then add in enough chicken broth to make it creamy but not runny. Keep about a cup of these separate. To the remaining mixture add the chicken, bell pepper, onion, and cheese. You can also add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon some of the chicken mixture onto a tortilla, roll up and place in an eight inch casserole dish. I normally get about five generously stuffed tortillas from this. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the tortillas. This can be topped with cheese and baked or frozen to cook later. If freezing, thaw overnight in the refrigerator first and top with cheese. I bake it at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until it is bubbly.

One freezer hint if you need your dish before you are ready to bake. Line the dish with heavy duty foil before adding the tortillas. Cover tightly before placing in the freezer. Once it is frozen, remove the tin foil containing your enchiladas and place in a gallon freezer bag. Now you have your dish. The tin foil can be placed in the casserole dish when you are ready to bake. Just be sure to uncover the top.

Friday, April 9, 2010

One of My Favorite Things

I will start this post of a favorite thing by telling you one of my least favorite things - mopping the floor. We have no carpet in our house. With two people and three cats constantly in and out of the house, we have a bunch of feet tracking in dirt. I am not sure what exactly about mopping that I find so awful. I love a clean floor. I hate lugging the bucket of water around the house and waiting for the floor to dry while trying to keep all of those feet off of it. I also hate the chemical cleaners. Not mopping really is not an option although I tried to put it off as much as possible.

I set out searching for a good steam mop. That brings me to my favorite thing....the Eureka Enviro Steamer. I opted not to purchase any additional clean cloths. I am using cloths made out of old towels to supplement the two than came with the steamer. I love how clean the floor feels after I mop. I also love that the floor dries almost instantly. In fact I love the steamer enough that I have been known to mop three or four times a week.

Just for information the one thing I have always hated more than mopping is scrubbing the tub. I need to find an equally great item for cleaning the tub. If only all of those little bubbles really scrubbed the tub like they do in the commercials. Oh well, a gal can dream.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Earlier this week I helped DH clean out our goldfish "pond". He emptied all of the water out which meant all of the fish had to be removed as well. I worked rescue by picking up all of the goldfish and mosquito minnows as he bailed out the water. The little pond is a work in progress since late last summer.

I bought 24 tiny goldfish last year for 38 cents each. They have grown so much, and we still have all 24. The mosquito minnows were free from a neighbor's goldfish pond. We were given about eight of those and have they have multiplied into many more. We also have two catfish that DH caught. The catfish can stay until they get too big, which I am assured will take a long time. All of the fish are happy to be back in their cleaner home.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Cupcakes

My mom and I hosted the church Easter egg hunt this year. We always provide a simple meal for everyone. I made cupcakes. I ended up making 48 cupcakes. I bought two cakes mixes with a coupon and also a container of chocolate frosting. The other frosting was from the freezer and had been leftover after making my cousin's birthday cake. I did buy the bunny Easter picks and had the flower picks left from another year.

I prefer to make a butter recipe cake mix with real butter. I also used fresh eggs from my parents' chickens. I ended up using Bantam eggs, which are smaller than regular eggs but taste just as good.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Men's NCAA Basketball Champs

I am a big Duke fan. I love them when they lose, but it is so much more fun when they win. I have a ritual each year. Every November before basketball season starts I paint my toes blue and white. Unless the team loses two games in a row, I just add another coat of polish on top as they chip. A good year is when my toes are still blue and white in April. This is a great year!!

I am a Duke fan because of Coach Mike Krzyzewski. About 18 years ago I had the honor of meeting him at the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. He was kind, patient, and really nice. He made such an impression on me that if Duke had never won another game I would have been a fan. Fortunately he is not only a wonderful person but also a wonderful coach. Congratulations to the National Champions Duke and Coach K!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Cats.....Again

I am sure everyone gets tired of seeing my cats, but they are always around and really do love to be photographed. I wish you could have seen Lucy who actually smoothed her fur down before she settled into her pose.

Here is the little diva.

Paris is not so concerned with her appearance.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

I have been very busy in the yard since the weather here has warmed up. Be sure to visit my gardening blog for more about that. I did put up my Easter/spring decorations recently so I will share a couple of photos of the porch.
First up is a photo of the main display. The other side of the door looks the same without the wreath. The stand with eggs was left from Christmas. Dh suggested I leave them out and decorated them throughout the year. I used ribbon and attached plastic eggs. The pots have a sad looking Boston fern, a coleus, and a Japanese painted fern.

Here is a better picture of the wreath. It is a grapevine wreath that I already had. I wired on some white flower garlands leftover from another wreath. The butterflies are also leftover. I wanted something spring-y that I could leave up for several months.